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Manipur encounter deaths: Army orders probe

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Army has ordered a court of inquiry into the deaths of two women and a child during an encounter between the Assam Rifles and Kuki militants in Manipur early on Thursday. An Assam Rifles patrol chasing the militants found two women, aged 46 years and 20 years, and a 18-month-old child in an injured state ``probably as a result of cross-fire'' between the troops and the militants, an Army officer said here.

The officer said a patrolling team of 20 soldiers led by two officers raided a village in Senapati district following ``specific intelligence'' about the presence of Kuki National Front militants. As the patrol party approached the village, six to seven militants fired at the team. When the Assam Rifles troops retaliated, the militants, while firing back, ran through the village to escape into the jungles beyond the populated area. The troops found the three injured civilians just across the village. Senior commanders from the Assam Rifles and the police have reached the site.

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